Monday, December 28, 2020

Baby Lemon vs Barracuda!

Wow - watch.
I guess one could say, such is life out there in the wild.
But I'm particularly happy that the little Lemon made it out alive!
Anyway, enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Yasa - Incoming!

Source - click for detail!

This is gonna be really bad.
The track has indeed completely changed, and although we're not likely to feel the full brunt of the wind, we're still going to be much more at risk.
You can follow the bloody fiasco in near real time here.

See you on the other side!
PS - we are a bit rattled but fine
Thank you so much for your support!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Fiji Bull Sharks - Paper!

Yes those would be our samples - click for detail!
That was then and alas, nothing much has come of it.
For some reason that eludes me, Christine never got around to actually publishing the relevant paper, and a later attempt at resuscitating the effort failed due to a general lack of interest and/or funding and/or time, or whatever. Plus I've been told that nowadays, the newest and shiniest tool for population studies is SNP markers and not anymore microsatellite DNA - and I'll most certainly leave it that, the more as that's about as much as I understand.
Or not - so correct me if I'm wrong.

Enter our indefatigable friend Kerstin!
She is now a newly minted, and highly deserving PhD - and the latest paper from her thesis once again confirms that the insular Bull Shark population from Fiji is genetically different, and likely closed = isolated from its continental counterparts. 
In essence, this means that our Bulls are truly unique and that they spend their whole life right here in the archipelago without ever engaging in large transoceanic migrations across deep water trenches and vast distances. And no, they also most definitely do not travel to Vanuatu and Australia for mating as was recently publicly proclaimed from the peak of Mount Stupid!
Obviously, this makes them specially precious but also, especially vulnerable - and Tashi's My Fiji Shark initiative, especially pertinent!
And the taxonomic consequences?
Years ago my ichthyological guru told me that a species is what a geneticist tells you it is - and very sadly and despite of my best efforts all the way to outright begging, the relevant Shark taxonomists remain firmly of the opinion that the present genetic distinction doesn't warrant declaring a new species. 
And when it comes to our Bulls at least being a possible (and I would add: obvious!) subspecies or race, I'm being told that apparently, in Shark taxonomy one just doesnt do that
Oh well - but we will keep on trying!

Anyway, great job!
Oh and - please, Adopt Your Shark Now! 
Thank you.

Monday, December 14, 2020

TC Yasa!

Click for detail!


Sadly, it also looks like it is highly likely that starting on Thursday, it will very badly affect the Yasawas, Nadi & Lautoka and then Vatulele and Kadavu - see the forecasts here and here.
See at bottom!
So far, it looks like we down here will fare better.
But who knows as those tracks are fickle at best - plus, we will certainly experience some mighty gales and heaps of rain.

So there you have it.
And in case you're still wondering: you need to start prepping right now.
Seriously, chop chop!
Good luck everybody! 

PS - and this?
Source - click for detail!
Believe it or not, but we're currently sandwiched between two cyclones: TC Yasa, currently a Cat2 and TC Zazu, a Cat1 that is lingering close to Vava'u!
What a fiasco - bloody Climate Change anybody?

PPS - NaDraki here and here, FMS, Windy here etc = the track has changed dramatically = not good at all!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Bloody Cyclone!

Well, as so often I was wrong.

That cyclone forecast was very real.
It's gonna be called Yasa and it's gonna linger forever = pick up strength around Vanuatu, and most certainly influence the weather in our West and also give us a good soaking down here, albeit with much lighter winds, once it starts tracking South.
970 HP is approx a Cat 3 and it may even increase further.

So be careful peeps.
You know what to do!

Monday, December 07, 2020


Well well - behold the first cyclone of the season!
But it's obviously only a forecast and methinks it is wrong.
But who am I to say. 
All of 2020 has been warmer than average and now we're in the middle of a La Niña which over here translates into a hot and wet summer, with possibly more cyclones.

Be it as it may, it's a good time to get ready.
Personally, I'm gonna trim the trees and clean the garden, test drive the generator, check the tarps and ropes, and make sure I have enough water, food and fuel.

Good luck everybody!

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Tiger Shark vs Loggerhead Turtle!


I must say that I really like it.
Yes, in theory, one should generally not interfere with Nature.
But in practice, we always do, and this overwhelmingly in negative ways - so the small act of kindness for that little terrified turtle was nice to see.
And trust me, that Tiger will find another meal.

Well done guys!

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Shark Attack Horror?

Really - have you seen this shit?
Andrew is obviously totally correct, the comments are total rubbish.
He was cornered by an eager "reporter" and like we always do lest there be any misunderstandings, asked that any questions be sent to him by email.
Alas, that obviously never happened.

So there, let me try to put things into context.
  • First and foremost, Mark is apparently going to recover OK.
    He's a real nice kid and we wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery.

  • He was however not merely free diving, he was spearfishing.
    As shown in literally countless examples, this can frequently lead to shark bites. Like I said many times eg here and here, it is well known that the Sharks in popular spearfishing locations like Frigate Passage can get highly conditioned = aggregate at the mere noise of a speargun being fired, get highly excited by the vibrations of a speared fish, try to nab any catch and retaliate when poked and pushed away. This is most likely what has happened here.
    In brief, do not fight with a Shark over a fish!
    To cite myself (talk about being prescient!)
    And if you spear fish and are not careful, you may well end up having one of those close encounters described by Jonathan - not because of us but because that is what happens everywhere around the world, see here and here among many, many such examples!
  • The Shark was most likely a Grey Reefie.
    But it could also have been a Silky (no that's not a Bronzie - nor is this one!) or a Galapagos - case in point here! Bronze Whalers however are essentially antitropical and not officially recorded from Fiji.
  • The Shark feeding dives have nothing to do with this, zero.
    Once again, we have actually collected the scientific evidence that clearly illustrates that with the exception of our small harmless Whitetip Reefies, our Sharks
    a) were never resident but have instead always spent most of their time roaming throughout Fiji, and most importantly,
    b) have never depended on our handouts but have instead remained wild animals that have always continued to normally hunt their prey away from the Reserve.

    In brief, the fact that we feed less (yes we do still feed) has no incidence whatsoever on the well being and/or the behavior of our Sharks = they are not going hungry nor being more aggressive nor roaming further afield or anything like that - and again, this is not my opinion but evidence = fact!
    Read the links!

    And one more thing.
    Some quarters have suggested that our fed Sharks may have lost their natural fear of humans and may therefore have become so-called beggar Sharks and thus, more dangerous. We do not observe any of that when we dive without bait in the Reserve, and it thus makes no sense whatsoever to assume that it may be happening further afield.

    Again, the people who have conditioned the Sharks to approach spear fishermen are not the Shark diving operators but... the spear fishermen themselves!
  • And no, this is not about testing let alone predation!
    Those smaller Sharks simply don't prey on humans. Instead, the bites are most certainly agonistic = due to competition and/or aggression and/or self defense/retaliation - read this about agonism and this about Shark attacks.
There you have it.
In brief, Fiji's responsible Shark feeding operations have zero effect on the safety of the population at large - re-read this.
Long story short?
Sadly, this is nothing more than shoddy journalism that instead of bothering to engage in even the slightest modicum of objective research and fact finding, is merely repeating some random unqualified and unsubstantiated speculation and hearsay. And by being unnecessarily sensationalistic and misleading, it contributes nothing to the safety of the public and is also bad for the Sharks.
Not impressed, sorry!

Better next time Fiji Sun!
PS: really interesting comments section here = note how there's none of the usual gratuitous drama. And Setareki's reminder of the ubiquitous poaching and illegal selling is obviously spot on. Like I said back then, we know the perpetrators and also the enablers, and there will be a reckoning.

PPS - Bingo: watch this - fundraiser here.
Having actually gone and asked Mark
  • He was indeed spearfishing

  • It was indeed a Grey Reefie

  • The Shark was exhibiting the typical agonistic display of this species and then attacked twice, as they do. This also tells me that it was probably not a tourism Shark as those are used to people approaching them and have never, ever displayed agonistically during any of our feeds.

  • And finally, beware of the charlatans and self professed experts on social media - really, what a sorry bunch of total losers!